Pest Control

by /u/ekrof

Pests are one of the biggest challenges that a gardener has to face, and this is also true in small enclosed containers like Space Buckets. A pest invasion can ruin a garden at any point, so it is important to know how to keep them at bay. The techniques used for pest control in bigger gardens can be used for Space Buckets too. As a general rule, it is always better to use organic pesticides that are safe for human consumption, especially when growing plants like cannabis, hot peppers or cherry tomatoes. Do not use chemical pesticides if you plan to eat the fruits of your labor.

Neem Oil

Neem Oil is a safe and always recommended alternative pesticide. This is a vegetable oil that is pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem plant. This oil, when sprayed on a plant, acts as a natural pesticide that repels a wide variety of insects, including spidermites and aphids, two of the most common pests. It also repels caterpillars, locusts, fungus gnats, ants, thrips, leafminers and more. Other than insects, Neem controls powdery mildew, black spot and rust fungi, all while being completely safe to mammals, birds and beneficial insects (like ladybugs). To apply Neem Oil it is best to spray the plant as with any other pesticide. Use the Neem oil to cover the entire plant, especially on the underside of the leaves, where lots of bugs hide. Repeat the process every 3-4 days fro two weeks and the plant should be pest free. You can also spray the soil, as the plant will absorb and distribute it along its tissue. Once the neem compound is present in the plant vascular system, the pests intake it during their feeding, and that is the end of them.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is another great and natural tool to fight off pests, and it works great in combination with Neem Oil. DE is a soft, sedimentary rock that can be turned into a fine powder. It consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled organisms. Among other things, it is used as a mechanical pesticide, and can be specially useful for controlling pests in small spaces. The fine powder of Diatomaceous Earth absorbs lipids from the insect's exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. This also works for other pests, like gastropods and slugs. Also pH is DE neutral, and because it is a mineral source of pH, it tends to stabilize pH in soil and hydroponics.

Top Soil Layer

One of the easiest and most effective pest control techniques is to put a layer of material on top of the soil of the plang: Diatomaceous Earth, perlite or aquarium gravel all work well for this application. Once the top part of the soil is covered, the pests ability to reproduce will be greatly reduced, interrupting their remaining life-cycle. Perlite is usually the best choice for this application, as Diatomaceous Earth can get muddy after a few waterings.